We love working with new clients. There are always new processes and user preferences to learn, new palettes and logo styles and design styles to incorporate into brand new designs. They're a lot of fun -- but there's a special feeling of excitement at Jebraweb HQ when we get to step back into the comfortable, long-term relationships we've developed with returning clients.
That is especially true for the great people at one of our longest-standing clients, Advanced Dental of Dyer, Indiana. The team there has been with Jebraweb for many years, and the opportunity to work with them again is always one we enjoy. When they decided it was time to make a big change to their web site -- everything from back-end to design to hosting environment -- we knew it would be an invigorating experience for all of us.
Advanced Dental was in an interesting position. Like many other medical and dental practices, they use a practice management system to run everything in their office from patient management to billing. When we began working with them in 2010, their web site was included in the practice management software package. That made it seamless when they included patient forms on the site, but over the years, they found the site difficult to update, manage, and change. What's more, things like mobile-friendliness and blogging became harder and harder to manage within this system. While it was fantastic for other business functions, it had stopped being the best solution for managing their web presence.
When we began planning this redesign, we wanted to address the ways the web itself had changed since we'd built that original site in 2010. That opened all of us up to moving away from using the practice management system and toward a more modern solution for the web.
Advanced Dental's offices are -- honestly! -- utterly soothing. Beautiful photography of the Indiana Dunes overlooking Lake Michigan cover the walls, offering patients an uplifting focal point during their visits. The staff all work to create an environment that is both reassuring and surprisingly inspiring. The practice really does try to create a place for its local community to approach dental care differently. Frankly, it's a nice place to be!
The web site absolutely needed to reflect that same aesthetic on both computers and mobile devices. In our move to a new host and to WordPress software (more on that below), we focused on using the same kinds of photography, the same calming colors, and a minimum of the kind of photos you'll see on most other dental practice web sites. After all, we all know what a toothbrush looks like. Advanced Dental didn't need those kinds of stock images of floss and braces to dominate its design. The Beep theme by OlevMedia helped us get the look we wanted.
The most important and time-consuming change involved in this redesign was moving from site built in flat HTML/CSS within the practice management software to a site managed via WordPress, the open-source content management software running a huge percentage of sites on the web these days. We knew that Advanced Dental would love using WordPress not just to make changes to their site in general, but so that Marie Gambetta, their CEO, could begin writing their long-planned blog. Integrating WordPress with their social media presence and even with the patient information forms on their site was easy, too -- we simply used WordPress menu items linked to external URLs on the practice management server.
Because we've been working with the team at Advanced Dental for years now, the actual process of making the move was relatively easy.
- Purchase External Hosting and a New Domain Name
The first thing we did was to purchase a new domain name that Advanced Dental could use to develop the new site while keeping the old site live during the transition. We used GreenGeeks for hosting and installed WordPress right away.
- Confirm Site Navigational Structure and Purchase a WordPress Theme
Once Advanced Dental made the changes they wanted to the navigational structure of their new site, we chose the Beep theme. It had lots of features they needed immediately and some that they can choose to roll out over time if they need them.
- Transfer Content and Choose Images
Advanced Dental chose to take the time to have new photographs taken for this site, both of their recently redesigned offices and of their fabulous staff. We transferred existing content to the site when appropriate and got new content electronically from their staff for the new pages. Additional dunes photography was added for the full-screen-width images.
- Connect to Practice Management System
Anytime we integrate an external system into a new site, it takes testing and more testing. We wanted to make sure new and existing patients could log in and complete any pertinent forms right from the site.
Launching was as easy as redirecting their old domain name to this new site. They'd been using DrGambetta.com for many years, so now the site is accessible via the new domain name of AdvancedDentalDyer.com or that existing name.
Advanced Dental's new site is lovely, reflective of their aesthetic and the personality of the practice overall. The office staff are able to add blog posts, update content, and share everything via their active social media presence whenever they like. We've loved working with them over the years, and this was no exception!